Gods and Warriors

Written by Michelle Paver
Review by Elizabeth Hawksley

1500 BC, Bronze Age Greece. Eleven-year-old Hylas is a goat boy, a nobody, but, even so, mysterious black-armoured warriors are pursuing him to the death. Why him?

When a dying man gives him a precious bronze dagger and urges him to seek out the dolphins, Hylas has no choice. He must flee or die. He has two friends: the stroppy Pirra, a high priestess’s daughter, and the dolphin, Spirit. Somehow, with their help, he must stay alive and leave his island home. And so his quest begins.

Michelle Paver’s books are known for their strong characters, thrilling action and heart-pumping pace. Gods and Warriors, the first in her new Bronze Age adventure series, is no exception. My heart was in my mouth from the opening sequence with Hylas, an obsidian arrow piercing his arm, desperate to escape the fearsome warriors pursuing him. They have already killed his dog, and his little sister is missing. What did they want? I didn’t know, but I was desperate to find out.

Historically, I found this book very interesting. I have visited various Bronze Age sites in Greece, and they are worlds away from the Greece of Classical times. This is a world of warring tribes desperate for the latest military technology: bronze weaponry. For that they need access to copper and tin and both are in short supply.

It is also a world of magic and superstition. The orderly Greek pantheon of gods is in the future; Hylas’s Bronze Age world worships the Lady of the Wild Things and the Earthshaker, both of whom are unpredictable and must be placated. The scenes with the dolphin, Spirit, desperate to help this alien human creature, are entirely credible. I’m sure that confident readers of 9 plus will love this book. Highly recommended.